Kickapoo Ramblings
By Cynthia Smith


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It’s the little things that help

By Cynthia Smith

Boy, I can see how easy it might be for me to get a huge credit card balance.  Fortunately, I was taught by many frugal teachers: my mom and dad (they never bought a thing unless they paid cash) and my husband Joe - who held the same belief about needing an item before one had the cash. Don’t charge!

But, cruising/surfing the internet, everything seems appealing to me.  Like my old chiminea made of clay just fell victim to 20 years of overuse, after it suffered a crack when we moved here twenty-five years ago, it gave up the ghost.

I love(d) it - just outside my back door on the deck, all of my burnable trash could be disposed of with just a few steps. Sand filled the bottom of its bowl. A screen covered the chimney opening.

So, I hopped on Google and found so many replacements - all I have to do now is choose one and order it.  Problem? They don’t give many details - like I need the dimensions of the opening, the larger is better to fit the burning into, especially torn down boxes of cardboard.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to cut apart a large container, so I wind up throwing that into the dumpster.  This may seem like a minor task to solve, but I find so many things that I handled easily when I was twenty years younger, have now become HARDER to accomplish.

This isn’t just ME. In talking to friends in my age decade, they all report to me that things that used to be simple no longer are.

Think bending down on a knee to compress heavy cardboard to fit into my chiminea. That hurts - there’s a big arthritic lump/bump on my knee that won’t allow kneeling anymore.  Climbing up on a ladder to put an item on the top cupboard shelf, can’t do THAT anymore.  I don’t know any of my group who feel assured on a ladder - huh-uh! NO way.

For the first time I am going to hire out the staining and sealing of my deck.  That same knee lump prevents me getting down to the wood holding any kind of application brush for the stain/sealer. 

In my group of friends, if it isn’t a knee, it’s a sciatic nerve, or tennis elbow, even an ACL tear.
Just goes with our number of birthday candles.

Cynthia can be reached at


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